I’m afraid … I’m very afraid. I am constantly worried about who’s going to win this battle … Cable companies or the consumers. It looking to me like the consumers are going down without even entering the ring … fact is they don’t even know there’s a fight.
As with all things technology the net is changing fast, too fast for some … and consumers aren’t paying attention.
Sure … most people are just living their lives … maybe they look up some movie info or search for old friends, read a blog or two. To them the net works fine. It’s not that they don’t want to use all the conveniences the net has to offer … they just flat out aren’t aware of them.
For instance … you can print postage and ship a package from your house and even schedule the post man to pick it up … no gas guzzling trip to the post office to wait in line.
You can pay your bills online on exactly the day they are due. It doesn’t cost anything … no stamp … no more late fees … you even earn more interest.
Drop that $75 a month cable subscription (save $900 a year) … if you have a PC and a TV with a VGA input (like the most HDTV’s) you can watch most TV shows available on cable for free on hulu.com or one of the many other TV providers on the net … and the commercials are shorter.
Got broadband … everyone should use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for local and long distance phone service … you can still use your regular phone and the quality is indistinguishable from the phone company … plus you get voice mails to your email and call forwarding (no “extra” charges like the phone company) …. you can even take your phone on vacation with you. You can get a Magicjack for $20 a year …. and save that $70-$100 a month phone bill.
Backed up your computer online … house burns down…. yeah that’s really bad for the house but those cherished baby pictures you backed up online are still safe … and if you have kids those pictures are what you value and would have missed the most from that fire.
You say … all that sounds really good … so why am I so scared? I’m scared because all of that is really good and getting even better and we are going to see it ruined by corporate greed and consumer ignorance.
You’ve probably seen some of these headlines “Comcast throttling bit torrent” “Verizon shutting down Usenet Newsgroups” “RIAA cracks down on Piracy” “Time Warner testing bandwidth caps in Texas”…
Those headlines are all really about the same thing. Big money media resisting change to their business model and doing a sneaky end run around the consumers … fake right … run left … phase it in. Lets face it … what will happen to the cable providers when all their subscribers start watching free TV on the Internet instead of subscribing to cable TV? Actually its not just TV and movies on hulu.com … people are forgoing cable TV for online gaming, YouTube videos, Podcasts, and tons of other content like online news. Print media is in the same boat as cable TV … have you seen the size of PC Magazine’s printed edition lately … its pitiful … I’ve got a thicker directions pamphlet with new my weed whacker.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again … “Free TV comes over an antenna. The internet is your new Rabbit Ears”. The huge difference … you aren’t limited to a 10 mile radius and 5 stations like your old rabbit ears.
So Verizon and the cable companies are working via several fronts to move you to a model where you pay them for Internet selections the same way you did for cable TV … and friends I have to tell you they will kill the Internet. Bandwidth caps will bring innovation and free TV on the Internet to a crashing halt.
They cry that costs are too high … Let’s see I paid them about $1300 a year for 10 years … hummmmm how much infrastructure did they build with my $13,000? (You guessed right if you said none.)
Actually most large providers have deals where the actual bandwidth costs them little or nothing (according to Leo Laporte on TWIT).
Lets forget a minute about the “unlimited” service they sold you … fact is this Internet utility is just like the local telephone service … some people use it more than others. If I remember correctly … its been quite a while … local phone service was the same amount whether you talked all day or made one phone call a month. Now they are also bemoaning Bandwidth hogs “5% of the users are using 95% of the bandwidth” to make those using the net normally look like the bad guys. Fact is eventually all those folks who are just checking email or the weather are eventually going to find out about all the other great stuff on the Internet and start using it as it was intended to be used. Then we can all be considered bandwidth hogs? Comcast-Time Warner-Verizon would be delighted if everyone just used the net for email and browsing … its like giving them $45 a month for nothing.
What they need to do is build out their network infrastructure to handle the full capacity of the subscribers … As it is now I think I heard they have 500 people signed up using a connection built for 25 people… ( I could be wrong please feel free to comment with actual figures). “There is plenty of bandwidth available in the US” (According to Leo Laporte on Twit). They need to update their network to accomodate the changing times and they need to do it with the money you and I have already been paying them for years and years on their slightly (sarcasm) overpriced services. Not to mention the huge amount of money the government gave them years ago for just such a purpose.
Somebody … please … worry with me!